Archive for the 'Concerns and Expectations' Category

Choices, Choices

Parents-to-be face many important decisions. Breast-feed or bottle feed? Cloth diapers or disposable? To go back to work after the baby is born, or not? To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

For me, many of these answers were easy. Breast-feeding, disposable diapers, and continuing to work-at-home as a freelance writer after a short maternity leave.

Before greener readers condemn me for my diaper choice, let me point out that I do not have a washer-dryer in my home. My husband is lucky when he has clean socks.

The true sticking point for me was the “great vaccination debate.� Much to-do was made over news headlines and studies discovering a link between autism and the mercury found in some vaccines. Later studies debunked these findings, but the buzz continued.

Then the premiere episode of ABC courtroom drama Eli Stone brought it back to the forefront with a compelling, albeit fictional, storyline.

I’m not one to make a decision based on prime time television viewing, so I delved further into the evidence. I turned up enough long-standing studies from what I believed to be reliable sources to convince me that vaccinations are safe—at least in terms of vaccinations not causing autism.

Many parents eschew vaccinations for a variety of other reasons, including religion, a belief in 100 percent natural living with no chemicals or medications, or fear of other side effects related to vaccinations. Some parents believe the human body’s immune system grows stronger without intervention, and don’t wish to cause undue trauma and pain for the child by putting them through a series of shots. Parents who make this choice, whatever the reason, believe they are doing the right thing for their children.

In many states, parents can get a medical, religious or philosophical exemption from vaccinations, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy path to follow. Parents who don’t vaccinate their children should be prepared to face legal and social consequences.

Some parents who won’t let their children play with unvaccinated children. In some states, parents may face charges of neglect. Of course, there is always the risk your child will contract these childhood diseases, facing discomfort, pain and possibly dangerous symptoms and long-term side effects.

The decision to vaccinate or not vaccinate your child is highly personal; what is right for one parent is wrong for another.

Should you choose to vaccinate, speak with your physician and also research potential side effects and reactions so you can make an educated decision. Insist on getting a full list of ingredients in any vaccination. Knowledge is the key to making the right choice for your child.

I should add that Julie Fletcher, chief blogger here at FR, wrote an article for the upcoming March/April issue of theWAHMmagazine, which further explores the vaccination debate, points to evidence that there is no proven link between autism and vaccines, and talks about food-related causes of autism. This Web-only, interactive publication hits cyberspace March 5, so be sure to check it out.

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Postpartum Depression

After pregnancy, some women start to feel like they’re just not ‘right’. Hormonal changes, healing, and taking care of a newborn while still running a household can all attribute to this feeling. In cases, the extra tiredness and sad emotions will begin to fade. In other the symptoms can deepen and become Postpartum Depression.

The word ‘depression’ brings to mind lethargy, avoidance of others, and someone who is constantly sad. This may be true, but depression can also include anger, hallucinations, and intrusive thoughts. Women with post partum depression often do not seek treatment due to feelings of shame and inadequacy. When a woman does not seek help she may eventually lose control and harm herself and potentially others.

Luckily for those of us who have suffered from postpartum depression there are resources readily available on the internet and through understanding health care practitioners. By recognizing symptoms you or your loved one may be experiencing, you can use these resources to find an ending to the suffering brought on by this serious mental disease.

If you are suffering from PPD, you may not even know it. You might feel sad, tired, or angry, but not know why. While it is possible to beat PPD on your own, it’s not recommended. If you do not choose to use medication, there are alternatives like support groups and therapy.

My own story with PPD began in 2002. I had given birth to my second daughter and just didn’t feel ‘right’. I was sad, tired, and felt at a loss each and every day. I began to believe people were talking about me behind my back. It got so bad that I would avoid looking at people in public and if there were more than two cars in a restaurant parking lot, I would make my husband go elsewhere or through a drive through.

I found some information on postpartum depression and decided to take the first step by admitting I had a problem. I talked with my husband, then to my nurse-midwife. We all decided a plan of low level antidepressants would have the best effect on me. Sadly, it turned out that the drug I was taking did nothing for me, except to cause an apathetic outlook. I eventually gave up the medication in favor of support.

In 2004, my third daughter was born and I began to have symptoms of PPD again. This time though, the severity was much worse. Bordering on Postpartum Psychosis, I came very close to being committed several times, and to be honest, I should have been. While I did not have wishes to harm others, each and everyday suicide was a very prominent thought. I refused to admit to having a problem, luckily my husband had been with me through the entire episode of the last PPD issue and knew that this time, there was something seriously wrong.

I began a regimen of the anti depressant Zoloft, with nearly immediate effects. I also found an online support forum on the Ezboard network devoted to PPD. All people affected by PPD was welcome there. Husbands, the victim herself, and other friends and family members. I was able to keep a journal in hopes of finding a pattern in my actions and symptoms. Eventually, I did. Now I use my journal as a way to update other members and let them know there is hope at the end of the dark tunnel that is Postpartum Depression.

Today I am a (fairly) happy mother of four with a budding freelance writing career. I write for online and print media, and I do not worry so much about having a ‘trigger’ set me back into my old depression. There is an end to the PPD, you just have to hold on to your life tightly. Here is a link for those who need more information on PPD. Postpartum Depression Forums

Posted in Pregnancy, Concerns and Expectations, Mental Health | 5 Comments »

Anticipation… Anticipa-yay-tion

Remember that weekend sans children that we got dooped out of a couple of weeks ago.  Well, this weekend, we will get our due.  The disappointment stung, yes, when we had it swiped right out from under us.  And, yes, there was the promise of another weekend, but we figured it was just too good to be true.  But, it is NOT.  This weekend, my beautiful in-laws are taking the kids on a grandkid beach party to celebrate the rebuilding of the new beach house (the old one was destroyed by a hurricane).

And, in true mother form, now that I have gotten what I want - I am totally remiss about it.  Don’t get me wrong, the idea of spending the weekend with my husband (sleeping in, going to movies, having friends over past 9pm) sounds decadently glorious BUT I will admit that now that it is a reality, the fact that they will be out of my bubble of protection for three days is kind of freaking me out.  I trust my in-laws completely and know they will be safe.  But, that irrational frame of mind that apparently comes with pregnancy can’t shake the feeling that this weekend will be the weekend that a meteor hits Earth or that aliens will invade or god knows what else.. I tried talking to my non-parental friends about it.  Big mistake.  They looked at me like I was crazy (which I may be) and all agreed that my uber-paranoia is a sign that I needed a weekend away from them a LONG time ago.  Putzes.  All of them - putzes.  I told them that when they have kids I am going to laugh at them the first time they cry when leaving a kid at a playdate or any other irrational thing that you feel after you bear children.  Because, let’s face it, you open up a whole other spectrum of emotions when you have kids.  Sure, they might be crazy emotions, but somehow, they make sense to you and to anyone else you know who has kids.

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Boys Will Be Boys….

I have gotten used to people (usually those without kids or those with girls only) looking at my son with great wonder - his preference to jump and run everywhere rather than to walk, his penchant for loud sound effects, his constant (albeit, articulate) banter with adults and kids, alike.  My mom has raised me to be utterly concerned with other people’s needs and opinions - or at least she tried.  It kicks in when necessary and occassionally I get bothered with it when it really doesn’t matter (my son being himself, with flourish, in the grocery store - for example).  I think when you have kids (overly-energetic boys or girls especially) you have to come to a point of agreement with yourself regarding how much you are willing to stress yourself and your kid out about how you are making strangers and those around you feel about your kids personality (notice I am saying “personality” and not “behavior” - strong personalities that can be overwhelming sometimes is what I am talking about, not bad behavior).  And, I think that the more you worry about it - putting all that negative energy into the situation - the more it becomes a problem.  When I make a big deal out of something that, in essence, really isn’t bothering me but I feel is bothering someone else - the problem becomes bigger.  Just something that I realized last night at our 4th of July picnic.  I started out overly concerned that my son, surrounded by very sweet, docile little girls, would offend someone or annoy someone.  He is pretty out there to begin with but, when surrounded by calm girls, by contrast he looks WAY out there.  Then this woman, god bless her, who - by the way- had no problem telling my son how to act, said to me “honey, boys will be boys - let him be”.  And I realized that he wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was just being himself and here I was, surrounded by people I didn’t know very well, worried more about what they thought or felt than I did about the fact that my kid was having a blast.  I relaxed and realized that I was the only one who was even concerned. Sure, everyone still made comments about his energy level and his propensity to kung-fu everything (even the cat) but, he’s a kid, and if you can’t pretend to kung-fu a cat when your six, when the hell can you? 


Posted in Concerns and Expectations, Character Development | No Comments »

Year of the Soccer Mom

This weekend, I crossed a threshold that I wasn’t sure I would ever be crossing. I am now a partaker in the weekend, rush-hour life of youth sports. My son had his first soccer meeting this past Saturday. The only thing that eased the fright of the loud chaotic room of kids running amok was the absolute look of eagerness and exuberance on my son’s face. The parents were a mixed group: half who looked liked this overkill of kid-crazy (imagine a Chuck E. Cheese playroom on speed) was something they had gotten accustomed to after several years and then there were the ones that looked more terrified of this strange universe than if they were being charged at by a mad, flame snorting bull . I would fall under the latter category, in case you weren’t sure. I sort of just backed myself up against the wall, wide eyed, and watched and listened and smiled and nodded a lot.

I like to think of myself as a good parent. I pay attention and listen. I read stories and am an active participant in my kids’ interests. I balance it with my life, making sure not to exclude my wants and needs. I feel I have found an equilibrium. However, and I am not sure if this is a shortcoming yet, I can’t get into the “spirit� of the active-child lifestyle. I like that we sit around and read books and eat home-made cinnamon rolls on Saturday mornings – followed by a leisurely walk after our nap. I like that we have time spent sitting around parks and libraries, telling stories and making up games. Not to make it all about me but, I am not quite ready to let that go. But I think I have to. Seeing the look on my little boy’s face this past Saturday makes me realize that he is ready to be a bigger part of the world. He is ready to get out there and make a mark – and in order to do that, he musn’t be exclusively sitting about eating cinnamon rolls and taking leisurely walks with his parents. His excitement is, really, all I need to get over the fact that in order for him to find his way that he has to break away from our cozy family time. And him realizing his independence and finding his passions in this world is, ultimately, the highest form of gratification for me. We’ll sneak the cinnamon rolls in later.

Posted in Lifestyles, Concerns and Expectations, Sports | No Comments »

Risk of Depression Relapse High During Pregnancy

Here’s an interesting report I heard on NPR today:

Women with a history of major depression who stop taking their medication during pregnancy have a high likelihood of relapse. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association is the first to quantify the risk of relapse during pregnancy and counters earlier thinking that pregnancy protects women from depression. Sasha Aslanian of American RadioWorks reports.

Listen to Risk of Depression Relapse High During Pregnancy

Posted in Pregnancy, Concerns and Expectations | No Comments »

Obesity Before Pregnancy Linked To Childhood Weight Problems - Pregnancy And Baby

Results of the study, which included more than 3,000 children, suggest that a child is far more likely to be overweight at a very young age — at 2 or 3 years old — if his mother was overweight or obese before she became pregnant. A child is also at greater risk of becoming overweight if he is born to a black or Hispanic mother, or to a mother who smoked during her pregnancy.

And there’s a good chance that an overweight child will stay overweight for the rest of his or her life.

(Full Story - Via Google Search: pregnancy.)

Posted in Pregnancy, Concerns and Expectations, Nutrition, Weight Management | No Comments »